Organizational Restructuring and Transformational Change in Action: A Real Life Case Example

The Situation: Marcus was the new CEO of a large national non-profit organization. Historically, the company operated with a loose governance structure, and had an executive director in the top leadership role. The Board of Directors wanted to restructure the organization and bring in stronger leadership. This prompted them to hire Marcus as the company’s first CEO. During his first year in the role his primary mandate was to conduct an analysis of the entire company and come back to the Board with recommendations for transformational change.

The Intervention: I met with Marcus about six months after he was brought into the organization. We discussed the challenge at hand, and the need to drive transformation throughout the organization. We had several options for initiating the necessary changes. To start, we needed to get a current understanding of how the existing governance framework and organizational structure was having a negative impact on people and processes. We decided to conduct a full organizational analysis that consisted of a culture survey, interviews with all Board members, and interviews with a select group of national, state, and local-level leaders.

For our organizational culture survey, we used a tool that explores culture through four key dimensions: a) personal leadership – consisting of core values, impact, and relationships, b) people leadership – consisting of empowerment, team effectiveness, and talent development, c) organizational leadership – consisting of vision and direction, goals and outcomes, and delivering results, and d) business leadership – consisting of customer orientation, competitive focus, and business acumen. For our interviews we designed a protocol that would cover: a) questions pertaining to the current organizational structure–what was working and what was broken; b) strengths of the organization; c) weaknesses of the organization; d) opportunities for the organization to capitalize on; e) threats to the organization–both internal and external; and f) recommendations for shaping the future. Our analysis and discovery period lasted eight weeks. This gave us plenty of time to conduct the 40+ interviews and launch the culture survey.

Our discovery period yielded many compelling findings. Several of the key priorities were: a) making changes to a broken governance structure – leaders were unclear about areas of responsibility and there were redundancies in processes and procedures; b) driving greater agreement and alignment on important initiatives – there was too much conflict taking place between national, state, and local leaders; c) developing stronger leaders across the entire organization – their were many complaints about a lack of coaching and development, and as a result, people were ill-equipped to lead in an effective manner; and d) re-designing the organizational structure so that decision rights were given to the national leadership team.

After taking Marcus through the findings, we began brainstorming methods of communicating the insights to the Board and broader organization. First, Marcus shared the findings with the Board. They discussed and debated the results, and then outlined the top four priorities for the organization. The priorities were as follows: 1) change the organizational structure so that decision making authority resided with the national-level leaders and no longer at the state and local levels; 2) re-design the state leadership structure so that the country was split into seven regions rather than four; 3) implement leadership development training across all levels of the organization; and 4) initiate quarterly national and regional conference calls to keep leaders updated on projects and programs taking place within each geography.

Next, he communicated the results, and the action items, to the organization. Marcus made sure to emphasize the importance of the governance structure changes as well as the organizational redesign. He also wanted his people to know how important the focus on leadership training and development would be moving forward. Over the next year, we helped him implement several leadership training programs across the organization. Some of the training offerings included: a) building employee engagement; b) developing a culture of trust; c) strengthening key leadership capabilities; d) driving team effectiveness; and e) improving communication through the development of social and emotional intelligence. These training initiatives helped to build the capabilities of their leaders, and started the process of on-going learning and development. It took time to implement the transformational changes, but Marcus made sure his Board, and the broader organization, remain committed to progress and growth.

The Outcome: Within a year following the organizational analysis and follow-up action steps, the organization began to see positive change. Decision making authority of the national leaders helped to drive structure, process, and discipline at the state and local levels. The re-design of the state governance structure from four to seven regions allowed leaders to share information better, and receive feedback in a consistent and timely manner. The leadership training helped to strengthen the current capabilities of employees at various levels, and helped to build a bench of talent for the future. Marcus had the courage to drive transformational change. He took the necessary steps to get a clear understanding of the organization’s challenges, and took action to change the course of their future.

For more information on organizational restructuring and transformational change, contact Bandelli & Associates at

Leadership Matters. Without It, People Fail.